Oct 19

Plastic tarps in the garden

Plastic tarps have several uses in the garden. As a wind-break and a shield from cold, snow, rain and hail plastic can help save tender crops from frost or damage from heavy rain or hail. Black plastic is especially useful in cooler climates to aid in warming the soil in the early part of spring. Here is picture of my corn plot in mid-May.

Apply black plastic over a bed in the early part of spring to warm the soil.

Apply black plastic over a bed in the early part of spring to warm the soil.


The weather this spring was quite warm for the early weeks of May. So, I decided to be bold and germinate the corn under the black plastic tarp. Normally, I don’t plant crops like corn or beans until late-May or early-June. After germination, I can pull off the tarp and the weather should continue to warm as we move toward the solstice. If we do get a night or two of cold I can place a clear plastic tarp over the plants at night. That should be sufficient to keep the young seedlings from becoming stunted.


Black plastic can also be used to suppress weeds. I have applied a single sheet of b.p. to cover the area where tomatoes and peppers will go. Let the plastic heat the soil for a few days then cut slits in sheet and place the plants in the soil. The plants may require a little extra watering, but they will have no competition from weeds.


frost, morning after the first heavy frost

This expedient cold frame worked well to protect crops from the first heavy frost in Autumn.

Clear plastic is useful for making an expedient cold frame in the event of heavy rain, hail or frost.

Follow this link for complete instructions for making a greenhouse with PVC pipe and clear-poly plastic sheeting.

Tonight the peas will be covered to protect against the season's first heavy frost.

Tonight the peas will be covered to protect against the season’s first heavy frost.

If this mild weather holds I expect to be picking peas at the end of October and into November.

Permanent link to this article: http://english-speak-english.com/plastic-tarps-garden/


    • Rachel on October 22, 2014 at 1:29 am
    • Reply

    Hi Kevin, I learned new words from the passage: wind-break/weeds/tarps….some word is simple when they split such as wind and break….but it is totally different from the combination as wind-break. And I wrongly understood the meaning of the weeds as seeds, which took me much time repeat reading the passage. After checking the dictionary, I found that weeds is not seeds….
    It is helpful for Engilsih and the content itself is informative!

    1. Nice comment, Rachel. Thanks.
      You are correct that English vocabulary can be interesting. Combining simple words can create a meaning that is not so familiar to the reader/student. I am glad you scrutinized the article and found new words!

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